Norway is one of the world's leading countries in gender equality and work-life balance and therefore proves to be an exceptional model for study to improve gender equality and work–life balance around the world (Strømland, 2009). Norway continues to rank top three in the Global Gender Gap Index in addition to being the happiest country, best country to live, leading country in gender equality and work-life balance, best country for motherhood, and one of the top three countries for business (Badenhausen, 2015; Berglund, 2010; Bradford, 2011; Dresser, 2010; Helman, 2011; McNeil, 2010; “Norway tops ‘best country’ list, U.S. ranks 10th,” 2010; Rienstra, 2010; Winter, 2010; Worley, 2014). Data collected from the interviews of 22 Norwegian women are used to understand the relationship between gender equality and work-life balance, that this relationship enables more women to work and be leaders, and that gender equality leads to financially successful organizations. This phenomenological study uses Giele's (2002, 2008, 2009) life story method and theoretical framework and Weber's (2011) instrument to explore Norwegian women's experiences through the dimensions of identity, relational style, motivation, and adaptive style as shaped by Norway's culture and laws to gain further insight and understanding. Findings from this study suggest supportive relationships and autonomy are major contributors to Norway's success in gender equality and work-life balance, which offers a countering view to the GLOBE study's (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004) assessment of family groups in the Nordics. Furthermore, 20 work-life balance strategies were revealed, in addition to a new leadership intelligence framework: Nordic Intelligence (NQ). The findings from this study may help to create happier people, more satisfied employees, better and effective leaders, successful organizations, and stronger nations and economies worldwide.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Women in leadership -- Norway; Work-life balance -- Norway

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;